No. 8 UC Santa Barbara upset No. 4 BYU (25-21, 25-18, 25-22) on Friday night in the first of two matchups this weekend at Robertson Gymnasium.
"Santa Barbara is a great team," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "They were just so much better than we were in the serve and pass elements of the game. They made it hard on us offensively and we didn't make it hard on them. I hope the guys will come in here with the attitude that we're going to fight tomorrow to get a win."
Jake Langlois led the Cougars with 12 kills and a .500 hitting clip to go along with four digs and four blocks. Joseph Grosh contributed a team-high eight blocks while Jaylen Reyes added a team-high seven digs. Robbie Sutton and Tyler Heap each finished with double-digit assists at 15 and 10, respectively.
BYU (3-2, 2-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) and UCSB (5-2, 1-2 MPSF) started the first set knotted up at 5-all following a trio of kills from both sides. The two squads traded points back-and-forth from there with a Grosh and Langlois block giving the Cougars their first lead of the set, 10-9. After a barrage of service errors from both sides, BYU retook a 14-13 edge off a Matt Underwood service ace. McGown took his first timeout of the set down 20-19. After the break, the Gauchos went on a 5-2 run to finish off the set, 25-21, with a kill.
The second set began much like the first set with the score tied at 7-apiece following a UCSB service error. The score remained close until a pair of quick points put the Gauchos up 13-10, forcing a BYU timeout. A 5-1 UCSB run then followed as the Gauchos took a commanding advantage, 18-11. The Cougars countered this time with a 5-2 rally of their own, capped off by a Brenden Sander kill, to bring them back within four points, down 20-16. Despite a late BYU rally, UCSB capitalized on a few Cougar errors to take the second set, 25-18.
The score was tied at every point from six to 22 in the closely-contested third set. An Underwood kill gave BYU its first early lead of the third set at 4-3. A Grosh ace helped the Cougars stay ahead, 8-7, and another Underwood kill gave BYU a 12-11 edge. Kills from four separate Cougars helped BYU stay in the set, still ahead 21-20, before the Gauchos finished on a 5-1 run to take the set and match, 25-22.
The Cougars return to Rob Gym on Saturday to face off against the Gauchos for a rematch beginning at 7 p.m. PST. Links to live stats can be found on the BYU men's volleyball schedule page.
Royce Hinton is the men's and women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.